Tokyo Gas Offers Residential Co-Generation Systems

November 29, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

Tokyo Gas Co. Ltd. is preparing to launch sales of "ECOWILL", a residential gas engine co-generation system, in January 2006. The company was the first in the world to bring out a residential fuel cell (FC) co-generation system named "LIFUEL.” Although extensive diffusion of LIFUEL is anticipated to take a little more time (it is not expected to begin before fiscal 2008), interest in residential co-generation systems is already running high in society as a whole.

As a result, Tokyo Gas decided to launch sales of ECOWILL, a residential co-generation system powered with a gas engine. ECOWILL is a highly energy-efficient co-generation system that generates electrical power with clean city gas and is capable of heating water and space with the heat simultaneously derived in the process. It reduces emissions of carbon dioxide, a cause of global warming, by about 29% and primary energy consumption by about 19%. As such, it is looked to as a means of preventing global warming.

ECOWILL delivers a particularly outstanding energy-saving merit in homes with a large demand for heat (hot water), and we are actively marketing it for newly constructed detached housing. The company regards both ECOWILL and LIFUEL as integrated parts of our assortment for power generation in the home, and are targeting combined sales of at least 15,000 systems a year over the years 2008 - 2010.

For ECOWILL installation and maintenance, the company will harness, reinforce, and augment the current related schemes at Tokyo Gas Eco System (TES). In this connection, Tokyo Gas made notification to the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry today that it is establishing a new optional agreement, the residential co-generation system contract, effective 1 January 2006.

At the same time, Tokyo Gas has begun recruiting people as “monitors” to test the operation of LIFUEL, a fuel cell system developed for residential use. The company plans to sell 200 LIFUEL units for monitoring in fiscal 2005, based on its experience with 20 units already installed.

LIFUEL is an energy-efficient co-generation system, extracting hydrogen from natural gas to use in a chemical reaction with oxygen in the air to generate electricity, while using heat created as a by-product to supply hot water. It is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 40% and primary energy consumption by 26% compared with conventional systems.

The monitoring units will be installed at single-family houses located in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba and the southern part of Saitama Prefecture where the company operates. Monitors are required to enter into FC Partnership Agreements, under which they agree to cooperate with Tokyo Gas for three years after installation, by answering questionnaires and providing operating data. All date and survey results will be used to improve the performance of LIFUEL.